Recently, my friend Eric and I watched Goyokin. Goyokin is a relatively unknown samurai movie from 1969. Goyokin is excellent, and although it is not as critically regarded as The Seven Samurai, I personally like Goyokin better.
The movie follows a ronin, named Magobei, trying to stop his former clan from stealing Shogunate Gold, or Goyokin. This movie was originally supposed to be a part of the Yojimbo series. However, the star of the Yojimbo series, Toshiba Mifune, quit because of the cold (most of the movie was shot in snow.). Tatsuya Nakadai, who was also in Yojimbo as the villain, was cast as the main character of Goyokin instead.
The acting in this movie is excellent from the entire cast, but especially from Nakadai. He is great as Magobei, and is very interesting to watch on screen. The main villain, Tatewaki, is great too because has an understandable goal, and is very captivating. He also functions as an antithesis to Magobei. Magobei is a very honorable Ronin, whereas Tatewaki is a dishonorable Samurai.
A major misconception people have about samurai movies is that they’re all completely serious and not funny at all. That is not true with Goyokin, as characters like Samon and Oriha are hilarious in this movie.
The action in Goyokin is very similar to other samurai movies of the time, and is exhilarating to watch. This movie also features a fantastic final duel between Tatewaki and Magobei.
Goyokin is a amazing film, and my all time favorite Samurai movie. It’s a real shame no one knows about it.